Nestor Cortes’ reaction amplifies Yankees concerns over Gerrit Cole’s injury

Nestor Cortes and Gerrit Cole are at the Yankees training facility in Tampa, FL.
Charles Wenzelberg /NYP
Inna Zeyger
Tuesday March 12, 2024

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A cloud of concern hangs over the Yankees as they anxiously await news on Gerrit Cole’s elbow. Manager Aaron Boone revealed before Monday’s split-squad game against the Phillies that their ace pitcher would undergo an MRI.

Nestor Cortes, a fellow Yankees starting pitcher, acknowledged the seriousness of the situation. He described the news surrounding Gerrit Cole, the reigning Cy Young Award winner, as “alarming” and expressed disappointment at the potential setback. His role in the rotation is irreplaceable, Cortes emphasized.

Initially slated to take the mound on Tuesday, Gerrit Cole will now remain sidelined until the MRI results are available. Manager Boone revealed that the Yankees ace’s elbow has not responded as anticipated during the typical pre-season ramping up process, necessitating further evaluation to determine the extent of any potential issues.

Gerrit Cole’s injury throws Yankees into disarray

The news of Gerrit Cole‘s MRI has cast a shadow over the Yankees’ optimism. Nestor Cortes, Cole’s teammate and fellow starter, shed some light on the situation. Their lockers in the GMS Field clubhouse are just a few stalls apart, and Cortes revealed he’d noticed subtle changes in Gerrit Cole’s pre-start routine that hinted at a potential issue.

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AP

“I know he’s been dealing with some stuff, as every pitcher is during spring training,’’ he said. “I didn’t know how serious it was until now.”

Cortes acknowledged that spring training often involves minor adjustments for pitchers. However, he hadn’t grasped the full extent of Gerrit Cole’s situation until now. A track record of consistent health throughout Gerrit Cole’s career makes this unexpected shutdown all the more concerning.

The New York Yankees‘ spring training, which had been progressing smoothly, has encountered a setback. The announcement of Gerrit Cole’s impending MRI and Aaron Judge’s two-day absence, attributed to general wear and tear by manager Aaron Boone, has introduced a degree of uncertainty and concern.

“It’s definitely concerning, especially when it involves someone like Gerrit Cole,” Boone admitted, acknowledging the potential ramifications for the team’s pitching rotation.

Despite the unsettling news, veteran infielder DJ LeMahieu offered a glimmer of optimism. He mentioned that he was unaware of any specific issues affecting Judge and stressed the crucial importance of both players being healthy for the team to achieve success in the upcoming season.

Nestor Cortes provided insight into the moment he first heard about Gerrit Cole’s potential injury. Initially, he received an update via phone and later saw confirmation of the news on the clubhouse television.

gerrit-cole-new-york-yankees
ESPN

Although Cortes attempted to maintain a positive outlook, he acknowledged the gravity of the situation, particularly given Gerrit Cole’s status as the team’s ace and highest-paid starting pitcher.

“Let’s hope it’s nothing major,” Cortes said. “It’s definitely concerning, but hopefully he can bounce back quickly and be at his best again.”

Drawing from his own experiences with health challenges, Cortes revealed that he has previously sought guidance from Gerrit Cole on maintaining consistency in his pitching performance over an extended period. Cole’s remarkable durability is well-known, as he has made at least 30 starts in every season since 2017 (with the exception of the abbreviated 2020 season).

Cortes described Cole’s exceptional body awareness and his ability to effectively manage his physical well-being throughout the course of the year. He shared that during past offseasons, he had engaged in conversations with Gerrit Cole about workload management and preparation for spring training. Cortes credited the Yankees ace with providing valuable insights on training techniques and conditioning methods.

While Gerrit Cole’s proactive approach to addressing potential issues is typically commended, Cortes conceded that the unexpected need for an MRI has raised some concerns within the team.

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